Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is one of the most popular whey protein powders on the market. It is known for its high quality, good taste, and affordability. Gold Standard Whey is a good source of protein and essential amino acids, and it can help you build and maintain muscle mass, improve recovery after workouts, and lose weight.
What is whey protein?
Whey protein is a type of protein that is found in milk. It is a fast-digesting protein, which means that it is absorbed by the body quickly. Whey protein is a good source of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue.
Benefits of Whey Protein
Whey protein has many benefits for both athletes and non-athletes alike. Some of the benefits of whey protein include:
- Muscle growth and maintenance: Whey protein can help you build and maintain muscle mass. This is especially important for athletes and people who are trying to lose weight.
- Improved recovery: Whey protein can help you recover from workouts faster. This is because it helps to repair muscle tissue and replenish glycogen stores.
- Weight loss: Whey protein can help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism and helping you feel full.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is a blend of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides. Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein, and it is low in carbohydrates and fat. Whey protein concentrate is less pure than whey protein isolate, but it is also less expensive. Whey peptides are small chains of amino acids that are absorbed by the body very quickly.
For over 35 years, Optimum Nutrition (ON) has been a recognizable brand in the performance supplement market. From the ON logo to the metallic red and black protein powder label, it’s whey protein powder is iconic. In fact, I vividly remember every athlete’s dorm room and house on my college campus having at least one tub of Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard whey. My college swim team was no different, and my roommate and I always kept a 10-pound bag of ON’s protein powder on top of our refrigerator to fuel our post-workout recovery.
The reason I and other athletes trusted Optimum Nutrition was their commitment to quality and the fact that all of their supplements are Informed Choice banned substance free. This gave us peace of mind, since we knew there was nothing in the supplement’s formula that would cause us to fail a drug test. It also didn’t hurt that Optimum Nutrition had a wide array of flavors to choose from, tasted great and mixed effortlessly in a standard shaker bottle.
Over the years, numerous protein powder competitors have entered the supplement space, but Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey Protein powder has stood the test of time. In this review, we break down ON’s flagship whey protein powder and discuss why it’s remained such a fan favorite. We’ll look at the ingredients, flavors, taste and mixability, and compare it to other whey protein powders and supplements on the market. Our ultimate goal is to help you to decide if this is the right protein powder to meet your needs.
“This content is meant to be informative, but should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention or treatment of health problems. Always speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement or exercise regimen”.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey At a Glance
- Blend of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate and hydrolyzed whey protein
- 24 grams of protein per serving
- 18 flavor options
- Informed Choice banned substance-tested
- Easy-to-mix powder
- 5.5 grams of BCAAs per serving
- Multiple serving size options available
- 15% discount off your first order
- Free delivery on orders over $75
- Contains artificial ingredients including flavors, colors and sweeteners
- Animal-based, so not suitable for vegans (vegans and vegetarians may like ON Gold Standard 100% Plant Protein)
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Claims
Each scoop of ON Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder is formulated to build and maintain muscle mass and support post-workout recovery. This is because every serving contains 24 grams of high-quality whey protein, primarily whey protein isolate, meaning the protein powder contains mostly calories from protein and less calories from carbohydrates and fats. This makes this supplement an effective option for individuals with weight loss or body recomposition goals.
Another benefit of ON Gold Standard whey protein powder is that it’s “instantiated,” meaning it’s designed to mix easily in a standard shaker bottle or using just a glass and a spoon. Having tested this protein powder myself, I can confirm the supplement dissolves smoothly and mixes completely clump-free without the need for a blender.
Quality of Ingredients
The primary ingredient in ON’s Gold Standard whey protein powder is a three-protein blend of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate and hydrolyzed whey protein. This blend provides consumers with 24 grams of protein per serving, regardless of the flavor.
Whey protein isolate
Whey protein isolate is the purest form of whey protein available, containing at least 90 percent protein. This purity level is achieved through extensive processing that removes most of the fats and carbohydrates, such as lactose, that are found in a more common whey protein concentrate.
Whey protein concentrate
Whey protein concentrates contain a lower percentage of protein compared to isolate, typically ranging from 70 to 80 percent protein. This is because it retains more of the fats and carbohydrates that are naturally present in the whey from cow’s milk. This also means that it contains some additional beneficial bioactive compounds and minerals that are often filtered out during the conversion to whey protein isolate.
Hydrolyzed whey protein
Hydrolyzed whey protein is a whey protein that has undergone a process known as hydrolysis. During hydrolysis, the protein is partially broken down into smaller peptide chains and amino acids. In theory, this makes the protein easier for the body to absorb and digest, and may be beneficial for individuals with digestive issues or athletes who need to recover as quickly as possible.
The other ingredients on ON Gold Standard whey protein powder label can vary depending on the flavor; however, the main ones include sunflower and soy lecithin, natural and artificial flavors, artificial colors and artificial sweeteners. This is definitely an area that I feel Optimum Nutrition can improve on if they want to stay competitive in the protein supplement space. While all these ingredients are approved as safe by the FDA, there is growing research to suggest that artificial ingredients may not be the best for long-term health.
Nutrition Facts (varies slightly based on the flavor)
|Calories||Protein (grams)||Carbs (grams)||Fat (grams)||Sugar (grams)|
ON Gold Standard whey is a low-calorie protein powder. Regardless of the flavor you choose, the number of calories ranges from 120 to 130 per serving. This is due to the whey protein isolate-dominant formula, which means some of the excess carbohydrates and fats were removed during processing. Low-calorie protein powders such as Gold Standard whey are a great option for those who want to lose weight while maintaining lean muscle mass.
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Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Flavors
Optimum Nutrition has one of, if not the widest array of flavor options to choose from. They are also well known for seasonal flavors. From my personal experiences using Gold Standard whey over the years, I’ve never tried a flavor I didn’t like. Some of my favorites include the Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Mint and Double Rich Chocolate. All three are made with actual cocoa powder, and I think they taste like real chocolate, not an artificial flavor.
- Banana Cream
- Chocolate Coconut
- Chocolate Hazelnut
- Chocolate Malt
- Chocolate Mint
- Chocolate Peanut Butter
- Cookies & Cream
- Delicious Strawberry
- Double Rich Chocolate
- Extreme Milk Chocolate
- French Vanilla Creme
- Mocha Cappuccino
- Rocky Road
- Strawberries & Cream
- Strawberry Banana
- Vanilla Ice Cream
- White Chocolate
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Cost
A 29-serving tub of Gold Standard Whey is priced at $44.99. This cost falls in line with the current industry average of around $40 to $50 dollars for 30 servings of whey protein. That being said, Optimum Nutrition does offer a variety of different ways to save on the cost of their protein powder.
They start by offering a number of different serving sizes to choose from, with the larger containers coming at a reduced price. For example, here is a chart showing the price per serving for the Double Rich Chocolate flavor protein powder for the different serving size options.
|Serving Size||Cost ($)||Cost per serving ($)|
Optimum Nutrition also offers their “buy more save more” discount which adds an additional 15% off orders over $100 and 20% off orders over $150. However, this offer is not valid in combination with other promotions or bundles.
Who Should Use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
ON Gold Standard whey is a protein supplement that’s generally well-suited for a wide range of individuals. From athletes and bodybuilders to general fitness enthusiasts, anyone who wants to increase muscle growth, enhance strength and promote recovery after intense workouts can benefit from increasing their daily intake of dietary protein by using Gold Standard whey. This protein supplement is also effective for individuals on weight management programs since protein can promote satiety and reduce hunger levels as well as help to retain lean muscle mass during a caloric deficit.
Who Should NOT Use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
While Gold Standard whey would be a good protein powder option for most people, there are a few reasons consumers may want to go with a different protein powder option. The first reason is that being a whey protein powder, this supplement is derived from cow’s milk and may not be suitable for individuals who follow a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, or for individuals who are lactose intolerant. This product is also not best for individuals looking to eliminate artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners from their diet.
What Customers Are Saying About Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey is rated 4.8/5 stars with over 2,000 reviews on the Optimum Nutrition website. Many of the reviews comment on the great taste and ease of mixability as the reasons why they rated the protein powder so highly. It also seems that many of the reviews are from repeat customers who have been using this product for decades. Because of ON’s longevity in the supplement space and their commitment to quality, many consumers have developed a loyalty to the company as a whole.
About Optimum Nutrition Brand
Optimum Nutrition (ON) is a well-known and respected brand in the sports nutrition and supplement industry space. Founded in 1986 by brothers Mike and Tony Costello, ON’s mission is to produce premium-quality supplements for bodybuilders and athletes. Primarily known for its line of protein supplements—including whey protein isolates, concentrates, mass gainers and casein— Optimum Nutrition built a strong reputation for best-tasting protein powders. In addition to protein, ON offers a variety of other supplements, including amino acids, pre-workouts, creatine and more.
How Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Stacks Up Against Other Products
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein vs. Optmum Nutrition Gold Standard Isolate
In addition to their regular Gold Standard whey, ON offers a Gold Standard whey isolate supplement that contains a blend of hydrolyzed and ultra-filtered whey protein isolate. In terms of nutrition, the differences between the two products are quite negligible, with the isolate having anywhere from 10 to 20 calories less per serving and one extra gram of protein. That being said, this product may be preferred by individuals following a strict weight loss plan, such as those preparing for a bodybuilding competition.
Some other notable differences between the products include the available flavor options and the price. Gold Standard whey isolate is only available in two flavors, Rich Vanilla and Chocolate Bliss, and the price point is slightly higher with a 24-serving size container costing $46.99.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein vs. Dymatize Elite Whey
Both Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard and Dymatize Elite whey are very similar products with nearly identical calorie and macronutrient profiles. Dymatize Elite contains one extra gram of protein per serving (25 grams) but is also 10 to 20 calories higher (140 calories total). In terms of ingredients, they both contain a whey protein blend of whey protein isolate, concentrate and hydrolyzed whey protein; however, ON’s Gold Standard is whey protein isolate dominant, while Dymatize Elite has more whey protein concentrate. It’s also important to note that both products use artificial ingredients. Dymatize Elite whey doesn’t contain artificial colors, but does have artificial flavors and sweeteners.
Your choice will likely come down to brand loyalty and other factors such as flavor, mixability and price point. Dymatize Elite whey is available in three different flavors—Rich Chocolate, Gourmet Vanilla and Cookies & Cream—compared to the 18+ flavor options offered by Optimum Nutrition. From personal experience, I can attest that both mix easily in a standard shaker bottle. Dymatize Elite is also slightly cheaper than Gold Standard, coming in at around $0.90 to $1.00 per serving. Athletes can also feel confident knowing that both Gold Standard and Dymatize Elite are Informed-Choice certified safe for sport and are completely banned substance-free.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein FAQs
How long does it take for Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey protein to work?
Protein powder begins working immediately, which means amino acids are directly absorbed into your body upon consumption. While this doesn’t mean this product will allow you to effortlessly grow muscle, it will help you to increase your daily intake of dietary protein. When used consistently in conjunction with a workout program and nutritious diet, additional protein supplementation can assist in building muscle mass over time.
Is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% whey protein safe?
For the majority of the population, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey is completely safe. That being said, whey is made from cow’s milk, and individuals with dairy allergies will need to choose a plant-based protein powder alternative. Also, Optimum Nutrition’s supplements are Informed Choice certified banned substance-free, and are therefore safe for athletes who compete in drug-tested sports.
How often should you drink Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein?
While protein powder is a great way to supplement your diet with additional protein, it shouldn’t be relied upon as your sole source of dietary protein. It’s generally recommended to consume no more than two servings of protein powder per day, and to instead look to get your other protein from whole-food sources like meat, eggs and dairy, or plant-based alternatives like tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Can I use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey protein to lose weight?
Yes, Gold Standard whey protein can be an effective supplement for individuals with weight loss goals. Consuming an adequate amount of protein will help to preserve your lean muscle mass and ensure the weight you’re losing is from fat, not muscle. In addition, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard whey is a fairly low-calorie protein powder, offering consumers an effective way to increase their intake of dietary protein without the extra calories from carbohydrates and fats.
Takeaway: Is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein Worth Trying?
ON’s Gold Standard whey protein powder has been on the market for over 35 years and remains a popular protein supplement. One serving provides 24 grams of protein with minimal carbs and fats, and the price is on par with similar competitor products. There are 18+ flavors to choose from, and the powder mixes easily in water. All told, we think it’s worth a try for those whose dietary preferences allow for dairy and a few artificial ingredients.
“Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is a good choice for people who are looking for a high-quality, affordable whey protein powder. It is a good source of protein and essential amino acids, and it can help you build and maintain muscle mass, improve recovery after workouts, and lose weight”.
“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases”.
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.
More About Whey Protein Contents
- Understanding The Basics Of “Protein Timing, Muscle Recovery, and Muscle Rebuilding”. How Your Metabolism Works To Recover
- Vegetable Consumption: The “Best 4 Plant-Based Protein Sources” To Add To Your Diet
- Check Out “The Best Ingredients” To Make A Lean Protein Shake For Muscle Growth And Recovery
- Shop Optimum Nutrition Energy: Anytime & Pre-Workout
- Shop Optimum Nutrition Active Lifestyle: Health & Wellness
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